January 25, 2018 / 4:58 PM / 4 months ago

Oprah says she's not running for president but fans are undeterred

(Reuters) - Media mogul Oprah Winfrey apparently ended her brief flirtation with a run for the U.S. presidency in 2020, telling InStyle magazine in an interview published on Thursday that she was not interested.

Oprah Winfrey smiles at the premiere of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" in New York, U.S. April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

But the leader of a political action committee supporting Winfrey said it would still to try to persuade her to run and continue seeking to recruit 1 million supporters.

Winfrey, 63, stole the show at the Golden Globes awards ceremony earlier this month with a speech against sexual harassment and assault. It sparked an online campaign to lure her into running against Republican U.S. President Donald Trump in the next election cycle.

“It’s not something that interests me,” Winfrey told InStyle. “... I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.”

Winfrey, long associated with Democratic Party causes and fundraising, could not be reached for immediate comment.

Winfrey’s friends had backed the idea with her longtime partner in business and life, Stedman Graham, telling the Los Angeles Times “she would absolutely do it” if there was sufficient public support. Confidante Gayle King said on “CBS This Morning” that Winfrey was “intrigued” by the idea.

After the Golden Globes, Democratic political consultant Cormac Flynn said he began receiving calls from associates who immediately persuaded him to support a Winfrey run, and he formed the National Committee to Draft Oprah Winfrey for President of the United States 2020.

The committee would continue despite the InStyle interview, Flynn said, noting that other politicians have decided to run after initially declining.

“The purpose of our committee is to convince Oprah to reconsider,” said Flynn, whose independent expenditure committee, or Super PAC, consists of two unpaid staff and two consulting firms that are donating their time.

“She’s an exceptional leader and would be a tremendous president,” Flynn said.

Known by millions on first-name basis, Winfrey first rose to fame as the host of a television talk show, using it to build a media empire that spans magazine publishing, movie and television production, cable TV and satellite radio. Born into poverty, she is now one of the world’s wealthiest women and been nominated for two Academy Awards.

Trump relished the idea of a celebrity-versus-celebrity campaign, telling reporters earlier this month he did not think Winfrey would run but believed he would win that matchup.

“I’ll beat Oprah,” Trump said. “Oprah would be a lot of fun.”

Oprah Winfrey smiles at the premiere of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" in New York, U.S. April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

Reporting by Daniel Trotta, Makini Brice and Scott Malone; Editing by Andrew Hay and Bill Trott

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